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The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition ‘Stopping it in its tracks’ is looking for proposals to advance novel and innovative technologies and approaches that will deliver passive, autonomous or semi-autonomous area denial counter mobility capability to the British Army. This means obstructing, slowing or stopping heavy armoured vehicles such as tanks, whilst minimising collateral damage.
We are anticipating at least £2 million will be available for this competition to fund multiple proposals which must achieve a minimum of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 (technology basic validation in a relevant environment) by the end of the phase (to be evidenced at the demonstration event).
Additional funding is anticipated for further phases to develop technologies to TRL 6 to develop a deployable battlefield solution by 2028.
This competition will close at midday on 16 August 2019.
Please note this is the second phase of funding for a multi-phase competition. It is not compulsory to have been involved in previous phases to apply; it is anticipated that we will mature some successful Phase 1 projects and fund some new ideas. New suppliers to this theme should make themselves aware of the previous competition and the projects funded.
2. Competition scope
Shaping an enemy’s movement and manoeuvre across the battlefield and protecting one’s own forces from rapid penetration by enemy heavy armour are key tactical considerations in combat. If the stopping or impediment of armoured vehicles is carried out effectively it can result in a number of tactical shaping effects:
- DISRUPT - breaking up an enemy, reducing their tempo
- TURN - diverting an enemy towards ground of our own choosing
- FIX - slow an attacker within a specified area
- BLOCK - stop an attacker along a specific avenue of approach
Currently the Ministry of Defence (MOD) must rely on traditional methods like ditching and obstacle construction, both of which are slow and personnel intensive. Also at their disposal are explosives such as anti-tank mines to deliver these effects or enhance natural obstacles. Mines require careful control to avoid the risk to non-combatants both during and after conflict. We are aiming to harness advances in engineering, design, materials science, computing and non-kinetic weaponry to enable the British Army to shape movement across a wide area on the battlefield quickly, and whilst minimising potential collateral damage from the counter mobility system.
Recent terrorist attacks involving heavy trucks demonstrate a continued need for security authorities to provide effective heavy vehicle stopping systems. Consequently, in addition to front-line military use, successful novel non-lethal systems could have a wide domestic and international appeal to civil and other government customers.
This phase seeks proposals for novel approaches to stopping or impeding tanks and other heavy armoured vehicles (tracked or wheeled) either through:
- physical barriers / effects (for example, traps, blockage, interference with wheels / tracks or reduction in ability to navigate over ground), or
- invisible barriers / effects (for example, autonomous electromagnetic pulse (EMP) or sonic-based systems) which result in stopping / impeding a heavy armoured vehicle.
We are not interested in explosives-based solutions such as anti-tank mines or kinetic solutions involving direct or indirect fire weapons.
We are aiming for suppliers to achieve outputs of at least TRL 5 by the end of this phase. We do not expect Phase 2 outputs to demonstrate full effectiveness against a tank but we do expect them to demonstrate the potential to be able to do so in the future.
Additional funding may be available for additional phases to further develop technologies, integrate them into deployable systems, including testing and demonstrating through trials in a relevant operational environment (to meet TRL 6). It is likely that we will look to employ either a number of technologies as an integrated solution or a suite of solutions which can be adapted for different terrain, combat tasks, and logistical needs to make it harder for an adversary to apply counter measures.
In the longer term any proposed solutions must be capable of being improved and updated as technology advances. They must also be capable of being scaled-up for deployment over large areas and be operated passively, autonomously or semi-autonomously. Solutions must be relatively quick (in relation to the operational requirement) to deploy, comparatively cheap, cover a wide range of operating environments and must not require a significant number of operators to deploy or maintain the system.
3. Competition challenges
The 2 core technical challenges for this call are listed below and it is expected that proposals will address one or both of these within the scope defined above.
3.1 Challenge 1 – Physical ‘barriers’
Physical barriers / effects provide a clear visible deterrent to adversaries, can be quick to deploy and often do not require maintenance or management. In addition to impeding or stopping movement they may facilitate redirection and control entry points and movement corridors in the battlespace.
For this challenge we are interested in any physical barrier / effect that has the potential to stop / slow something as heavy and mobile as a tank, but that is also deployable over a wide area if required. The requirement to deploy over wide areas means solutions must be relatively cheap and due to the potential for these solutions to be required in contested areas they should be relatively quick / safe to deploy. Moreover, the logistical need must be considered, in terms of mass and volume.
Proposals addressing any aspect of this challenge will be considered. Particular areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
- novel tank traps
- novel ways of rapidly deploying tank traps
- physical barriers such as ‘walls’, sandbags or other obstructions
- obstacles which make it difficult to navigate or traverse
- obstacles which hinder movement and interfere with vehicle systems such as wire, webbing, nets
- materials which might interfere with vehicle operation such as non-toxic adhesives, hardening agents, obscurants (for example, a fog or smoke based barrier)
3.2 Challenge 2 – Invisible ‘barriers’
Combat areas can be defended by barriers / effects that are not immediately visible to an adversary. Reduced vehicle operating capability caused by these types of barriers / effects represents a significant threat to the safety of crew in a combat zone. Even the potential threat of this type of effect may impede or deter adversary action.
Invisible barriers / effects may be used in combination with physical barriers / effects especially when they can offer long term disability or degradation of the vehicle, or incapacitate it in an attack zone where other defensive solutions are in operation.
Proposals addressing any aspects of this challenge will be considered. Particular areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
- EMP-based weapons
- acoustic, or light based devices
- electromagnetic interference or scrambling technologies
- solutions which reduce or impair visibility
3.3 Additional considerations
Whilst the final deployable solution is not expected within Phase 2, proposals should consider how the innovation would address the following cross-cutting attributes that may have implications for exploitation:
- diverse physical environmental conditions, including wind, rain, sand, dust, mud, humidity, high and low extremes of temperature and the urban environment (including delivery into or around buildings) and complex terrain (forests and woods and undergrowth)
- the contested environment, including detection / avoidance of physical tampering, and the minimisation of signatures to avoid detection by the enemy
- challenging electromagnetic environments, including potential loss of communication links and susceptibility to electronic warfare techniques
- simplified features, such as launch, recovery, loading, unloading, recharging. For complex automated delivery this could include systems such autonomous laying
- how the system can be hosted on, integrated with and delivered by a wide range of platform types (such as air delivery, for example)
- logistics, including how the system can be deployed, which vehicles are required and any logistic burden to getting the solution into theatre and/or the frontline
3.4 Clarification of what we want
We want novel thinking to benefit users working in UK Defence and Security. We are primarily interested in passive, autonomous or semi-autonomous systems. Your proposal should:
- be an innovative or a creative approach
- provide a clear demonstration of how the proposed work applies to any defence and/or security context
- address one or both of the challenge areas to enable stopping, slowing or impeding of tracked heavy armoured vehicles
- detail how the solution will provide an obstacle point and scalable area denial effect
- describe how the solution prevents or minimises collateral damage including whether your solution will offer any discrimination between in and out of scope targets
- highlight how the technology will deliver a change in capability over that offered by current state of the art technologies
- detail how you will reach and demonstrate proof-of-concept level of at least TRL 5 by the end of Phase 2
- articulate how the solution builds on existing published or open knowledge
- comply with all relevant legislation which includes the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), Amended Protocol II
3.5 Clarification of what we don’t want
For this competition we are not interested in proposals that:
- constitute consultancy, paper-based studies or literature reviews which just summarise the existing literature without any view of future innovation – we require outputs that have reached TRL 5 and can be demonstrated by the end of this phase
- only offer a written report – we require a demonstration at the end of this phase
- cannot demonstrate that the solution is feasible within the Phase 2 timescale
- do not offer significant benefit to defence and/or security capability
- are an identical resubmission of a previous bid to DASA or MOD without modification
- offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge)
- offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and / or security capabilities
- offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions
- offer kinetic or explosive based solutions such as mines, direct fire or indirect fire weapons systems and technologies that will have a severe logistic burden
- offer solutions designed to stop aerial threats including drones
- offer solutions using working animals
- offer solutions which contravene International Humanitarian Law (IHL) restrictions on the use of victim actuated explosive devices
Demonstration events will be conducted for successful Phase 2 contracts towards the end of the contract period. This is likely to be during September and October 2020.
Demonstrations will be held at a MOD site in the United Kingdom as nominated by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
The target vehicle for the demonstrations will be a steel hulled tracked armoured fighting vehicle within the ranges below:
|Mass||15 to 25 tonnes|
|Max Speed||31 to 75 kph|
(These parameters are indicative and may be subject to change)
Additional information will be confirmed closer to the time of trial including:
- terrain and conditions
- methods of Evaluation (MoE) and assessment criteria
- location of trial
- date of trial
- Government Furnished Assets provided (GFA: equipment, soldiers, and facilities for trials to take place)
In this document the term “demonstration” should not be confused with a “trial”. The difference between a demonstration and trial is that the former is an opportunity to display the capability or potential capability, the latter is an opportunity to discover more about the capability, functionality or any short-cummings of an item under test conditions.
It is important that over the lifetime of DASA competitions, ideas are matured and accelerated towards appropriate end-users to enhance capability. How long this takes will be dependent on the nature and starting point of the innovation. Early identification and appropriate engagement with potential end-users during the competition and subsequent phases are essential.
All proposals to DASA should articulate the expected development in TRL of the potential solution over the lifetime of the contract and how this relates to improved operational capability against the current known (or presumed) baseline. Your deliverables should be designed to evidence these aspects with the aim of making it as easy as possible for potential collaborators to identify the innovative elements of your proposal in order to consider routes for exploitation. DASA Innovation Partners are available to support you with defence and security context.
While this phase is focussed on solutions at TRL up to 5, any subsequent phases will focus on TRL 6 in order to move concepts closer to exploitation. You may wish to include some of the following information, where known, to help the assessors understand your exploitation plans:
- the intended defence or security users of your final product and whether you have previously engaged with them, their procurement arm or their research and development arm
- awareness of, and alignment to, any existing end-user procurement programmes
- the anticipated benefits (for example, in cost, time, improved capability) that your solution will provide to the user
- whether it is likely to be a standalone product or integrated with other technologies or platforms
- expected additional work required beyond the end of the contract to develop an operationally deployable commercial product (for example, ‘scaling up’ for manufacture, cyber security, integration with existing technologies, environmental operating conditions)
- additional future applications and wider markets for exploitation
- wider collaborations and networks you have already developed or any additional relationships you see as a requirement to support exploitation
- how your product could be tested in a representative environment in later phases
- any specific legal, ethical, commercial or regulatory considerations for exploitation
5. How to apply
Proposals for funding to meet these challenges must be submitted by 16 August 2019 at midday via the DASA submission service for which you will be required to register.
Anticipated funding of at least £2 million is expected to fund multiple proposals. Completed proposals must comply with the financial rules set for this competition. We expect proposals to be in the region of £200k - £750k. The upper-limit for this competition is £750k. Proposals will be rejected if the financial cost exceeds this capped level.
If successful, contracts will be awarded for a duration of up to 12 months but with a breakpoint at 6 months.
Additional funding for further phases to increase TRL of the solution further may be available. Any further phases will be open to applications from all suppliers and not just those that submitted Phase 1 or 2 successful bids.
Further guidance on submitting a proposal is available on the DASA website.
5.1 What your proposal must include
The proposal should focus on the Phase 2 requirements but must also include a brief (un-costed) outline of the next stages of work required for exploitation.
When submitting a proposal, you must complete all sections of the online form, including an appropriate level of technical information to allow assessment of the bid and a completed finances section.
A project plan with clear milestones and deliverables must also be provided. Deliverables must be well defined and designed to provide evidence of progress against the project plan and the end-point for this phase. As a minimum deliverables must include a final report, attendance at a start-up event and participation at the final demonstration event (all events will be held within the UK).
A resourcing plan must also be provided that identifies, where possible, the nationalities of those proposed Research Workers that you intend working on this phase. In the event of proposals being recommended for funding, DASA reserves the right to undertake due diligence checks including the clearance of proposed Research Workers. Please note that this process will take as long as necessary and could take up to 6 weeks in some cases for non-UK nationals.
You must identify any ethical / legal / regulatory factors within your proposal and how the associated risks will be managed, including break points in the project if approvals are not received. MODREC approvals can take up to 3 months therefore you should plan your work programme accordingly. Further details are available in the DASA guidance. If you are unsure if your proposal will need to apply for MODREC approval, then please contact DASA for further guidance.
In addition, requirements for access to GFA should be included in your proposal. DASA cannot guarantee that GFA will be available.
Your proposal must demonstrate how you will complete all research and development activities / services and provide all deliverables within the competition timescales (for this competition, the competition timescales are up to 12 months maximum duration). Proposals with any deliverables (including final report) outside the competition timeline will be rejected as non-compliant.
Bidders’ proposals must include a fully costed Option for work they propose to undertake past an initial six month period (i.e. 31st March 2020), which will act as a break point in the Contract. Decisions on whether Options are approved shall be made by 31st March 2020.
There is £1 million funding in FY19/20 and envisaged to be (subject to formal business case approval) further potential funding of £1 million for FY20/21. Bidders must provide proposals that break out their work packages / deliverable plan into (a) Item 1 – FY19/20 (which MUST be completed by 31st March 2020) work to include a report deliverable and (b) a further option under Item 2 – FY20/21 work (to include participation in trial / demonstration event and final report deliverables). The total duration across both items should be no more than 12 months.
Failure to provide any of the above listed will automatically render your proposal non-compliant.
5.2 Public facing information
When submitting your proposal, you will be required to include a proposal title and a short abstract. If your proposal is funded, the title and abstract you provide will be used by DASA, and other government departments as appropriate, to describe the project and its intended outcomes and benefits. It will be used for inclusion at DASA events in relation to this competition and included in documentation such as brochures for the event. This proposal title will also be published in the DASA transparency data on GOV.UK, along with your company name, organisation type e.g. SME and the amount of funding received.
5.3 How your proposal will be assessed
All proposals will be checked for compliance with the competition document and may be rejected before full assessment if they do not comply. Only those proposals who demonstrate their compliance against the competition scope and DASA criteria will be taken forward to full assessment. Failure to achieve full compliance against stage 1 will render your proposal non-compliant and will not be considered any further:
|The proposal outlines how it meets the scope of the competition||Within scope (Pass) / Out of scope (Fail)|
|The proposal fully explains in all three sections of the DASA submission service how it meets the DASA criteria||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal clearly details a financial plan, a project plan and a resourcing plan to complete the work proposed in Phase 2 (12 months)||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal identifies the need (or not) for MODREC approval||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal identifies any GFA required||Pass / Fail|
|Maximum value of proposal is £750k||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal includes a break-point at 6 months with an Option for work undertaken beyond the 6 month point||Pass / Fail|
|The bidder provides unqualified acceptance of the terms and conditions of the Contract||Pass / Fail|
Proposals will then be assessed against the standard DASA assessment criteria by subject matter experts from the MOD (including Dstl), other government departments and front-line military commands. You will not have the opportunity to comment on assessors comments.
DASA reserves the right to disclose on a confidential basis any information it receives from bidders during the procurement process (including information identified by the bidder as Commercially Sensitive Information in accordance with the provisions of this competition) to any third party engaged by DASA for the specific purpose of evaluating or assisting DASA in the evaluation of the bidder’s proposal. In providing such information the bidder consents to such disclosure. Appropriate confidentiality agreements will be put in place.
Further guidance on how your proposal is assessed is available on the DASA website.
After assessment, proposals will be discussed internally at a Decision Conference where, based on the assessments, budget and wider strategic considerations, a decision will be made on the proposals that are recommended for funding.
Proposals that are unsuccessful will receive brief feedback after the Decision Conference.
5.4 Things you should know about DASA contracts
Please read the DASA terms and conditions which contain important information for suppliers. For this competition we will be using the Standard Contracting (SC) Innovation Contract Terms and Schedules. For the avoidance of doubt, this is not the Short Form Contract (SFC).
Funded projects will be allocated a Technical Partner as a technical point of contact. In addition, the DASA team will work with you to support delivery and exploitation.
We will use deliverables from DASA contracts in accordance with our rights detailed in the contract terms and conditions.
For this phase, it is anticipated that at least £2 million will be available to fund multiple proposals. There may be occasions where additional funding from other funding lines may subsequently become available to allow us to revisit those proposals deemed suitable for funding but where limitations on funding at the time prevented DASA from awarding a subsequent Contract. In such situations, DASA reserves the right to keep such proposals in reserve. In the event that additional funding subsequently becomes available, DASA may ask whether you would still be prepared to undertake the work outlined in your proposal under the same terms. Your official DASA feedback will indicate if your proposal was fundable or not.
6. Phase 2 dates
|Dial-in||4 July 19 AM|
|Pre bookable 1-1 telecom sessions||4 July 19 PM|
|Competition closes||16 August 2019|
|Contracting||Aim to start October 2019 and end 12 months later in October 2020|
|Demonstrations||Held during September and October 2020|
6.1 Supporting events
Thursday 4 July 2019 AM – A dial-in session providing further detail on the problem space and a chance to ask questions in an open forum. If you would like to participate, please register on the Eventbrite page.
Thursday 4 July 2019 PM – A series of 20 minute one-to-one teleconference sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions. If you would like to participate, please register on the Eventbrite page.
Competition queries including on process, application, technical, commercial and intellectual property aspects should be sent to email@example.com, quoting the competition title.
While all reasonable efforts will be made to answer queries, DASA reserves the right to impose management controls if volumes of queries restrict fair access of information to all potential suppliers.